By Alanna King
Transliteracy and the Teacher-Librarian
There is a race happening to keep up with the latest trends in educational technology. There are pitfalls in an urgent approach to integration including only exposing our students to a surface level of technology which won’t allow them to fully understand the social, economic and environmental implications of our impulses. The role of teacher-librarian is critical in protecting the vision of democracy by advocating for the minimization of the digital divide and the emphasis of pedagogy. It seems that teachers are struggling to change their teaching and be comfortable with ongoing change. Meanwhile students appear to be challenged to engage deeply with material and persist when faced with problems they can’t quickly solve. The education system itself seems uncertain with how to proceed. New skills are needed and the skills of Transliteracy are near the top of the list. Transliteracy encompasses the skills of information literacy and is a skill set that utilizes metacognitive understanding of one’s own learning patterns, allowing the user/reader to adapt to changing texts and platforms. Using the term transliteracy sets the goal in education to aim towards having literacy skills transfer across modes and mediums, and that these skills will adapt with every new change in software or hardware, mode and medium. Integrating transliteracy into our education system is not so much a complete redesign as a need to appeal to students’ passions as a vehicle for experimentation in other modes and mediums. Teacher-librarians are in ideal positions to be the agents of change in schools in full integration of transliteracy models.
Alanna King is a teacher-librarian with the Upper Grand District School Board in Ontario.